House leaders travel to White House to talk East Ky. highway projects

WASHINGTON D.C. – One day after discussing two major highway projects at the U.S. Capitol, Kentucky House leaders traveled up the road to the White House to make their case with another official who knows the Commonwealth well: Former Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson, who is now Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.

“This was another productive meeting, and it certainly helps to have someone in the White House who truly understands just how important these projects are,” Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo said. “If and when these roads are built, we will look back on this week as the point where they truly became a reality.”

Speaker Stumbo and three other House leaders – Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, Speaker Pro Tem Jody Richards and Majority Whip Johnny Bell – are in Washington, D.C., to take part in the National Conference of State Legislature’s Symposium for Legislative Leaders. While there, they took the opportunity to meet with the federal leaders to highlight the need for two major road projects that would better connect Eastern Kentucky with West Virginia.

On Wednesday, the four met with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Hal Rogers, who also coordinated a separate meeting with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner. The meeting with Jerry Abramson came on Thursday, and Rep. Adkins returned to the White House today to meet with federal officials on broader issues affecting Eastern Kentucky.

The proposed highway projects at the center of the meetings would extend the Mountain Parkway to Beckley, W. Va., and use the Hal Rogers Parkway and KY 80 to create another interstate-quality corridor that would better link London to Beckley through Prestonsburg.

“I’m increasingly confident we have a way forward to make this happen,” Speaker Stumbo said. “We have the momentum SOAR has provided, the advocacy of some major leaders in Washington and the possibility of tapping into hundreds of millions of dollars of unused federal abandoned mine land funds. We have the ingredients to make a true difference in the region and give it hope going forward.”

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